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Author Topic: "Easy" Polar Alignment for EQ mounts  (Read 7325 times)

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Offline chris.bailey

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"Easy" Polar Alignment for EQ mounts
« on: 14:44:59, 25 February, 2013 »
To have a chance at longish exposure astrophotos the mount needs to be aligned to the North Celestial Pole. Fortunately for us  in the Northern Hemisphere the position of Polaris (the Pole Star) is approx 1degree from the true North Celestial Pole (NCP) and acts as a handy reference. EQ5/6 mounts have a polar scope and though there are numerous methods of using it, a quick, easy and relatively accurate method is as follows.

Go to and download this small programme (it only needs unzipping from the download to work). Set the site Longitude as show on the page in the link. There is also an iPhone app at that seems to work very well.

Either of the above shows where Polaris should be on the circle in the Polar Finder Reticle at the times listed. Simply adjust the longitude and latitude adjustment bolts to bring Polaris into this position. It helps if Polaris is at one of the quarter marks but estimating positions in between is reasonably accurate.

This method does not take the place of accurately drift aligning or other such precision methods but should be reasonable for shortish exposures (2-3 minutes) and long focal lengths and is fast enough to be used on portable setups.
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Offline altairastro

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Re: "Easy" Polar Alignment for EQ mounts
« Reply #1 on: 14:09:44, 20 August, 2013 »
I thought I'd add a couple of software links to help with polar alignment.

Here is a handy tool for polar alignment if you have an iOptron polar scope, and a mount without GPS like the Skytracker. It uses the GPS in your phone to derive the position of the stars in the Northern or Southern hemispheres.

iOptron iPhone Polar Alignment App

iOptron Android Polar Alignment App

Larger iOptron mounts with handsets have this built into the software anyway, but I find it pretty handy on the phone too, and if you have the Skytracker then it makes it even quicker to set up.

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